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Why Washington's war on terror failed

The conflicting US policy in Iraq and Syria in dealing with jihadists there means Islamic State will be the beneficiary if the US succeeds in their common goal of deposing Bashar al-Assad. A deeper reason for the failure of Washington's war on terror is that it has failed to target Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the two countries that fostered jihadism as a creed and a movement. - Patrick Cockburn (Aug 22, '14)

The killer on the (Saudi) king's highway
The murder of American photojournalist James Foley marks a new beginning in the never-ending Global War on Terror, as Islamic State fighters wax strong on the back of start-up funds and equipment supplied by - who else? - the US and Saudi Arabia. Their final destination? Mecca, Riyadh, and the head of the House of Saud. And those killers shall also speak with a British accent. - Pepe Escobar (Aug 21, '14)

ISIS: Caliphate or pretenders?
The historic basis of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now Islamic State, is highly questionable. ISIS is also not only far short of attaining the capability of a secure state, its actions and deeds are curiously in line with overarching American objectives for the region.
- Muhammad Asim (Aug 22, '14)

Delicate diplomacy for Vietnam
Rising tensions in the South China Sea are pushing Vietnam to strengthen strategic alliances with other powers, particularly the United States. But Vietnam is not yet poised to completely jettison its deep-seated reliance on its giant northern neighbor that has both encouraged and bedeviled bilateral ties.
- Brian Leung (Aug 22, '14)

'Paramilitarizing' the South China Sea
There is an assumption that "paramilitarizing" South China Sea disputes through the use of coast guards is low cost/low risk because Beijing will back down in a direct confrontation with even US "paramilitary" forces. Don't buy it. It will take a war for China to acknowledge US dominion over the South China Sea. That's a war, I suspect in China's opinion, the United States is not prepared to fight. - Peter Lee (Aug 18, '14)

Simon Leys: An appreciation
The death of Sinologist Pierre Rickman, best known under his pseudonym Simon Leys, has left a void in Western understanding and study of China that can only become more apparent in the years ahead. His intellectual honesty, and determination to understand in depth while rendering his views with appropriate simplicity, are needed now more than ever.
- Francesco Sisci (Aug 22, '14)

Sunni Awakening in Iraq and the future of IS
The Baghdad government desperately needs help against the the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), and the Sunnis have the forces and organization to turn the tide against the extreme jihadist group. Their tribes have shown before they have strength and cohesion when they want. They can do so again.
- Brian M Downing (Aug 20, '14)

Sanctions rebound to hit Europeans
The United States can now add eastern Europe to its litany of catastrophic meddling in foreign parts. Its sanctions against Russia over events in Ukraine, will, as sanctions always do, hit ordinary folk hardest, especially, and only too ironically, food producers in the European Union. But the complacent suits in Washington, London and Brussels will claim: "We think the price is worth it." - Brian Cloughley (Aug 20, '14)

Rights before weapons for Vietnam
US Senator John McCain argues that it is time for the United States to consider ending a 30-year embargo and selllethal weapons to Vietnam as it faces the risk of conflict with China in the South China Sea. But what Vietnam really needs for its long-term security is modern political values, not guns. - Duy Hoang (Aug 20, '14)

The American
cult of bombing

Given the less-than-stellar record of the United States in the post-Cold War period, does anyone want to hazard a guess about the next American response to peoples and leaders our government doesn't like in Iraq or the rest of the Middle East? My money is on more bombing, which surely requires explanation. - William J Astore (Aug 20, '14)

Leap of faith needed on North Korea
The West and its East Asian allies have failed to coax North Korea out of isolation with both economic incentives and punishments, underlining the need for more-creative strategies. Rather than a carrot and a stick approach, perhaps what is needed is a policy of "principled engagement" based on incremental trust-building. - Zhiqun Zhu (Aug 15, '14)

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Uphill task for Israel's apologists after Gaza
The level of brutality seen in Israel's latest offensive on Gaza leaves the spin doctors typically deployed to absolve the country of blame with a harder task than in past years. Instead of throwing the focus on any of Hamas's crimes, the civilian casualty level puts a spotlight on the creeping militarization of Israeli society.
- Ramzy Baroud (Aug 18, '14)

Maritime ruling lifts Delhi-Dhaka prospects
A UN tribunal's settlement of a maritime dispute between India and Bangladesh opens the way to large-scale investment on both sides of their new international boundary and may ease the way to on-land water-supply and other agreements. It may also curb China's expansionist designs.
- Rupak Bhattacharjee (Aug 18, '14)

Media suppression imperils Myanmar reform
The detention of journalists on dissent charges, restrictions on international media visas and official claims that the media instigated anti-Muslim violence are all raising fears that Myanmar's government is rolling back media reforms that had helped spur confidence in the country's democratic steps. Such crackdowns also threaten important development of the industry being nurtured by nongovernmental organizations and news agencies.
- Elliot Brennan (Aug 18, '14)

ISIS tentacles reach toward China
It has been reported that Abdul Maulana Aziz has declared his support for the "Caliphate of Abu Bakar Baghdadi", aka the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now the Islamic State. If confirmed, this is potentially big and bad news for China. Aziz was the radical spiritual leader of Islamabad's Lal Masjid, the Red Mosque, where his brother was killed in the bloody Beijing-encouraged conclusion of the 2007 siege there.
- Peter Lee (Aug 15, '14)

Vanishing point
First, passenger airliner MH370 vanished, then it disappeared from the news cycle. Its fleet "sister" aircraft, MH17, was then shot down - and also quickly disappeared from the front pages - complete with black boxes, data recorders and the rest. MH370's fate may remain unknown; MH17's is much more prosaic - but will civil society will accept that it, too, remain a mystery? - Pepe Escobar (Aug 15, '14)

Putin's double standards in Ukraine
The long-standing fear of NATO's eastward expansion that has shaped the Kremlin's position on eastern Ukraine invites comparisons with the fears of foreign influence that prompted Stalin to establish his European empire. Russian President Vladimir Putin's double standards on arming the pro-Russians in Crimea are even worse than Western moral myopia towards the peninsula's desire to reunite with Mother Russia. - Brad Williams (Aug 15, '14)

The West's dirty war in Iraq
As the specter of disintegration looms for Iraq, the main victor in this scramble for power is none other than Israel. It is succeeding today, with the help of its Western allies, in realizing the goals that it has been silently and carefully planning for the past few years - a base for any future attack on Iran, Syria, Iraq and even Turkey.
- Moufid Jaber (Aug 15, '14)

From baby boom to shortage in Iran
Iran's family planning policy has gyrated so radically - from encouraging too many babies to producing too few - that the Islamic Republic faces existential economic dangers. The origin of the problem dates to the 1979 revolution.
- Garrett Nada (Aug 15, '14)

Asia and a happy future for opera
Western opera's struggle to survive may in part be due to, and not in spite of, government subsidies, not to mention over-lavish productions and ill-considered, skin-deep, "modern" presentations. It need not be thus, and a return to the old ways of financing might be one way forward. Enter Macau. (Aug 15, '14)

To terrify and occupy
In a new era of American policing, cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory - often with the help of Uncle Sam's armory. As an excessive militarization of the police turns the boys in blue into counterinsurgent operatives, even nonviolent crimes are being met with overwhelming force and brutality.
- Matthew Harwood (Aug 15, '14)

China, Myanmar: stop that train
Reports about the cancellation of a US$20 billion railway line connecting China's southern Yunnan province with Myanmar's Rakhine western coast may have been premature, but conflicting accounts about the 1,200 kilometer project's status have raised new questions concerning commercial relations between the neighboring countries. - Yun Sun (Aug 14, '14)

No victors or vanquished in Gaza conflict
As the dust settles after the devastating conflict in Gaza, the UN reports more children were killed in the month-long battle than in the previous two crises in the territory combined. Israel missed its target to annihilate Hamas, instead killing mostly civilians in acts that may be investigated as war crimes, while the militant group's campaign against Israeli ground forces inflicted at least five times as many casualties as before.
- Thalif Deen (Aug 14, '14)

Laos 'halts work'
on Don Sahong dam

A government official in Laos says that work on the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam on the Mekong River has been suspended amid concerns expressed by neighboring nations. The dam's Malaysian developer says the project is forging ahead.
- Joshua Lipes

China still backing
Lao high-speed train

China is still keen to finance a US$7.2 billion high-speed railway project planned for cash-strapped Laos that would link the two neighboring countries, though there has been little action on the project since it got the go-ahead in 2012, and it may plunge Laos into debt.

Iran 'no longer needs'
Turkmenistan's gas

Turkmenistan may be about to lose its second-best customer for natural gas, Iran, with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh claiming that expansion of his country's gas production means it no longer needs to import from its northern neighbor.
- Bruce Pannier

The reason India
scuttled Pakistan talks

Despite Narendra Modi's high-flown rhetoric about good-neighborly relationships in South Asia, he lacks a road map how to proceed, be it with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Pakistan. But a deeper question arises on Pakistan: Did he duck on his own accord or under the diktat from his RSS party? - M K Bhadrakumar

[Re The 'non-state' solution, Aug 4, '14] Let's face it, the US is a dishonest broker in the Israel/Palestine question. Brenner is under the illusion that strengthening Arab regimes will lead to a solution.
Abraham Bin Yiju
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Western plutocracy goes bear hunting

2. Hiroshima: Counting minutes to midnight

3. Gaza's resistance paradigm

4. Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia)

5. The end of Israel's historical immunity

6. Xi grows in confidence at China's helm

7. It was Putin's missile!

8. China paying for corruption crackdown

9. The 'non-state' solution

10. Eurasia needs a Sino-German axis

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Aug 6, 2014)


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